I personally do not find the Triangle a particularly horrifying movie. Watching the film in class was not first time I’ve seen the movie. I’ve watched a few years ago; back then I would not have classified the film as a horror film. On one hand, it did have some creepy and weird moments. But generally, the mood of the film didn’t seem to be as horrifying to me as other horror films. Perhaps I would have classified it as a psychological thriller. But never did it cross my mind to classify the film as horror. I did enjoy the film, personal views of horror films aside.
Of course, aside from the feeling of horror that horror film evokes, there are other methods of classifying horror film. After having the class lecture and reading Horror, The Film Reader by Janovich, I would acquiesce that in some ways the film can be classified as a horror film.
For example, one could argue that the film was a horror film because of the presence of a monster: Jess, herself. It alludes to Jess ‘fighting’ herself. There is a concept of ‘good vs. evil’ in the film. Considering herself as a ‘better’ mother than the one who was responsible for her child’s death even though, as shown at the end of the movie, the ‘good’ Jess and ‘bad’ Jess are one and the same.
On another hand, we could also say that it is a horror film because of the tropes they used. There was a serial killer in a boat out to get them. They didn’t know her motives. There was a use of a lot of blood in the film. It also dealt with feelings of isolation, as the characters were stuck in the ocean with nowhere to go and no way to contact the outside world. Their isolation made it seem as if they were in a separate, isolated world.
Move-based approach will also classify this film as horror. There are four moves: sighting, thickening, revel, and aftermath. The sighting begins with the introduction of the film. Everything is normal. They are friends who go out on a normal sunny day to go sailing. Then weird things happens such as the freak storm. They get stranded in the ocean until a boat picks them up. The story then thickens: no one is in the ship except for a masked figure trying to kill them. Who is this masked killer? The world is revealed when Jess discovers that she, herself, is the killer. She kills them all and falls off the boat to come home. She replaces ‘herself’ to be with her son. Then we are made aware of the aftermath after she accidentally kills her child and goes back to the yacht to relive the day once again.
In connection to this, the story of the film tries to build up the audience’s curiosity which is a characteristic, according to Caroll, that horror films try to build up. Such that, the masked killer’s motive wasn’t clear in the beginning. Aside from this, it wasn’t clear where or how Jess was going to end up as the masked killer at the start. The movie slowly unfolded so that there were signs of the repetition such as the numerous lockets and notes but there wasn’t any clarity given until Jess decided to actually actively become the killer. Even at the end of the film, there were a lot of questions that were left open ended.
Overall, I did enjoy the film. I do like the idea of time loops. And I do believe, the idea of the time loop in this film was tastefully done. I thought that the foreshadowing they did made it quite entertaining as well. Especially, when they alluded to the Greek myth of Aeolus and the idea of loops and repetitions for children who have special needs. Jess has to do everything the exact same way.
Although, at the end of the film, I had more questions than answers. First, based on the number of bodies that have duplicated throughout the film, Jess has repeated this pattern many times: at which point of the film does she forget that she is in the loop? Is she really stuck in the loop? Or perhaps, she, herself, for whatever reason, likes being trapped in the loop? What caused the time-loop? Was it Jess? Or an external factor? These questions are never answered and are part of the ‘mysteries’ that world does not reveal.
Mark Jancovich, “General Introduction.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).
Noel Carroll, “Why Horror?.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).